by Jerry Gordon:
In late April 2012, a Tennessee legislator held a meeting with aides to Gov. Bill Haslam. It concerned unauthorized and apparently unconstitutional moves by Bill Gibbons, Tennessee State Commissioner of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), establishing a partnership with a religious NGO, the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) which has ties to local Muslim Brotherhood leaders via the American Center for Outreach (ACO). Gibbons was the long term District Attorney General in Memphis’ Shelby County and previously served as an aide to two former GOP Governors, Lamar Alexander and Don Sundquist.
AMAC is modeled on an organization created by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in August 2011, the Muslim American Advisory Council. Quinn had appointed the Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Safaa Zazour and Kareem Irfan, President of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, to serve on the Council. Illinois has 400,000 Muslims and more than 300 mosques. Its principal purpose according to ISNA is to “help ensure Muslim American participation in state government.” ISNA and the International Institute on Islamic Thought (IIIT), a northern Virginia based “think tank” for the Muslim Brotherhood met with the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) as Muslims for Constructive Engagement with the US government and Pentagon to push Islamization from within. IDA is a Pentagon contractor. In 2006 they met to develop guidelines for Muslim Advisory Groups to government agencies. In retrospect the Muslim Advisory Councils were the springboard for the infiltration of host government agencies like the DSHS in Tennessee. It was a furtherance of the Grand Jihad plan of the Muslim Brotherhood uncovered in a hidden basement of a northern Virginia home by FBI investigators. This discovery led to the Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation trial and convictions in 2008. A trial that named the ISNA and several other Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America as unindicted co-conspirators.
However, AMAC’s role in Tennessee was stymied for lack of full disclosure and transparency by Gibbons and his staff at the DSHS. Those disclosures could be an embarrassment to Tennessee Governor Haslam. Hence, the meeting between the state legislator and the Governor’s aides. As we shall see in this article, the DSHS head, the US Attorney for Tennessee and the US Department of Justice became involved in a web of activities in support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tennessee. That could raise serious questions about national counter terrorism versus religious civil rights policies. Tennessee has been front and center in the national media debate over citizens concerned about Muslim Brotherhood influence in government at both the state and national levels.
Connecting the Dots in Tennessee
On November 7th, 2011, Commissioner Gibbons issued a letter with the salutation “Salaam alaikum” to announce a partnership with religious non-profit group, the AMAC. He had no prior legislative authority to do so and subsequently it was deemed unconstitutional by a State Attorney General Opinion in March 2012. This despite Commissioner Gibbons’ efforts to cover his tracks and conceal this already existing partnership by filing for legislation in February 2012 under HB2375. Not only was there a partnership formed and functioning but an employee of the DSHS, James Cotter (the Homeland Security Middle Tennessee Regional Advisor), was a member of AMAC. As early as June 2011, members of the Muslim Rapid Response Team had met with Regional Adviser Cotter and Asst. Commissioner David Purkey head of the Office of Homeland Security to discuss pending Tennessee anti-terrorism legislation. When the Governor of Illinois announced the creation of his state’s Muslim Advisory Council that may have triggered the formation of both AMAC and ACO as nonprofit NGOs in Tennessee. As we shall see, the two groups are interrelated having members on both boards, as well as the leadership of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Council (TIRRC). Cotter claimed that membership In AMAC gave him access to any mosque in the State of Tennessee. The date of the letter came four days before the launch of the Preserving Freedom Conference: The U.S. Constitution or Shariah Law sponsored by the Tennessee Freedom Coalition (TFC) and the Shariah Awareness Action Network (SAAN). The November 7th letter signed by Commissioner Bill Gibbons may have been prompted by Muslim community and media criticism of the November 11, 2011 Preserving Freedom Conference. The Conference sponsors had booked convention facilities at the Hutton Hotel near Opryland in Nashville for November 11th to hear international experts discuss the threat of shariah law in America. In late October 2011 Hutton’s owners in Philadelphia summarily cancelled the reservations over alleged security issues including threats to its staff. Independent investigations revealed that the owners of the Hutton in Nashville, Amerimar Enterprises, had provided meeting space for a shariah compliant finance conference at a sister hotel in London, the St. Ermin, in 2010. When the Hutton hotel cancelled, the conference sponsors resorted to using the Cornerstone Church in Madison, Tennessee, a venue where the Hon. Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) had spoken at a TFC event in May 2011 concerning the threat of Islamization in Europe and the West.
In mid-February 2012, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office sponsored a counterterrorism training program with the Strategic Engagement Group (SEG) and funded by the TFC that was criticized by both the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and local Tennessee Muslim community advocacy groups as being “anti-Muslim.” This despite the endorsement of the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards & Training Commission(POST). That program was roundly criticized by Tennessee DSHS, the US Attorney for Nashville, leaders of Muslim groups in Middle Tennessee and the media. They accused it of being the equivalent of “hate speech” for conveying to local law officers information on the Grand Jihad of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. The SEG program was conducted by noted counterterrorism experts including former FBI officials using, in part, materials drawn from the Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation trial testimony and exhibits, investigations of home grown terrorism, Islamic jihad and shariah doctrine.
At issue is who authorized the partnership with the shadowy AMAC/ACO modeled on one adopted in the State of Illinois? Moreover was that partnership cleared with Governor Bill Haslam? Did he know about this partnership and secretly approve it? Why would Gibbons, a policy assistant and aide to two former Governors engage in a cover-up of this back door arrangement? Gibbons is not ignorant of his responsibilities under the law as a duly elected law officer who served 14 years as District Attorney General in Shelby County. He should have disclosed the launch of the AMAC/ACO partnership prior to November 2011 or when he introduced legislation in February 2012, SB 2237 and HB 2375 seeking retroactive authorization for forming such partnerships with religious nonprofit groups. On March 2, 2012, State Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr. filed an opinion at the request of Gibbons on companion bills, SB 2237 and HB 2375, which would authorize DSHS “to promote its goals by entering partnership agreements with non-profit organizations.” Measures that were vigorously contested by members of the Tennessee State legislature, among them Rep. Rick Womick and Sen. Bill Ketron. They offered several amendments contesting establishing partnerships with religious NGOs. Attorney General Cooper’s Opinion No. 12-29 concluded that a proposed amendment to the bills that would exclude partnership agreements with political or religious non-profits is constitutionally defensible. Commissioner Gibbons promptly withdrew the pending legislation. The Tennessee DSHS filed the legislation just prior to a two day counterterrorism program on February 27th and 28th, 2012 involving the US Attorney for Nashville, the FBI Office of Counterterrorism, and the West Point Center for Combating Terrorism and members of the shadowy AMAC/ACO. Several State Legislators were denied information as to the members of AMAC/ACO who spoke at this training event. Further they were informed it was none of their concern and that they were on a “need to know basis.” A source from a local law enforcement agency who attended the USDOJ sponsored program in late February in Nashville remarked that members of the board of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM)spoke expressing the view that Islam was a religion of peace. This source thought that overall the program was a waste of time. The source had also attended the SEG program sponsored by the Rutherford Sherriff’s office and found it most informative. The US DOJ sponsored program may have actually suggested that the real threat to homeland security in America came from “white neo-Nazis groups” and “right wing Christian extremists” rather than Islamic extremists.
The USDOJ has the Back of Muslims in Middle Tennessee
The Gibbons letter was aimed at ingratiating the DSHS with the State’s growing Muslim community. There are an estimated 63,000 Muslims in Tennessee, approximately 1% of the State’s 6.3 million population. The state had witnessed a number of controversies with the Muslim community over construction of mega-mosques in Rutherford and Williamson Counties.
To put perspective on the current issues in Tennessee, we have to put them in the context of what has facilitated the spread of Muslim influence in America, ironically accelerated following the heinous act of Islamic terrorism that occurred on 9/11.
Muslim influence and infiltration of our national government had been facilitated under the Clinton, Bush and the Obama Administrations in Washington. Clinton began the practice of holding annual Iftar dinners at the White House during Ramadan. Under President Bush these were expanded to Iftar dinners at the Pentagon, as well, along with appointment of Muslim outreach aides at senior levels in the Defense Department. The day following 9/11 in 2001 President Bush met with Muslim leaders at the Saudi financed Washington Islamic Center in a photo op declaring that Islam was a religion of peace and that extremists had hi-jacked this leading world faith with an underlying political ideological agenda. Bush in 2007 appointed Sada Camber, a Texas Muslim businessman of Indian origin, as the first special envoy with ambassadorial rank to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) (renamed Organization of Islamic Cooperation in July 2011). The 57 member OIC, composed of 56 nations and the Palestinian Authority, is Saudi controlled and headquartered in Jeddah. It is a virtual world Caliphate seeking to impose Qur’anic doctrine and Shariah rules, such as blasphemy codes denying criticism of Islam in the West. Obama appointed another Texas Muslim of similar background in March 2010 to the OIC, former Deputy White House Counsel Rashad Hussain. Later in December 2011, Secretary of State Clinton would convene an international plenary session with OIC members and other foreign representatives at the State Department. The so-called Istanbul Process conference was directed at developing best practices for combating religious intolerance, a code word for Shariah blasphemy codes adopted by the Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the USDOJ Civil Rights Division spoke about development of best practices to comply with the UN religious intolerance resolution. We shall see his role later in the USDOJ in the Tennessee mosque and counterterrorism program training conflicts.
Read more at New English Review. This is a very long, detailed informative article. Well worth the read.